Friday, December 01, 2006

The Fourth Woodpecker Type

Before the Thanksgiving digressions, I showed photos from visits to the Habitat by a pair of pileated woodpeckers , the many downy woodpeckers, and the red-bellied woodpeckers. That leaves one last woodpecker seen in the Colvin Run Habitat – the Northern Flicker. The northern flickers that appear in the eastern part of North America are the only brown-backed woodpeckers. The flickers are the only woodpeckers in North America that commonly feed on the ground, searching for ants and beetle larvae.

In the first three photos, you can see the flickers on the Habitat lawn. Actually, the arrival of the flickers is a good sign that there are ants and beetle grubs in the lawn, and hence, there is not really much of a lawn.
Like many of the woodpeckers, the flicker has a patch of red on its back. However, I think that the distinguishing feature is the black ‘bib’ on its front.
Often seen on the ground with a robin nearby, the flicker will ‘drill’ the ground much as other woodpeckers ‘drill’ a tree trunk.
On some occasions, you will find a flicker perched in a tree.
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